The Song Beneath the Sidewalks

What qualities make you want to stay in a place?

I recently visited Austin, Texas, for the first time. Expectations were high. Twenty-nine and mobile, I figured this was where I was supposed to find all manner of intrigue, weirdness and cultural artifacts for the subversively cool. Instead I drove away scratching my head, more struck by the sense of a city passing through Hipsterdom than anything grounded in a history or a hope.

Why, in the midst of daring reinventions of ramen, rich coffee and live bands at every bar was I still feeling empty, like everything was styled without having an identifiable pulse to style. What was it about Austin that left me wanting more grit, and was it fair for me to judge?

Read the rest of my column in the Orange County Register.

Photo by Trey Ratcliff–see more of his incredible photography here.

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